Remember, Remember…
May 18th, 2014, Emilene Parry

Remember, Remember…

The majority of Lab participants believe that they have an above average memory. 8 in 10 participants stated that they would like to have a perfect memory and be able to remember everything with perfect accuracy.

Reasons given for wanting a perfect memory include:

“It is very important for success in studies” Farouk, Tunisia

“To learn Quran” Anon

“For better results in professional and personal life” Naresh, UAE

“It will help me in every sphere of life, I won’t need to look at the prescription in order to buy meds, I won’t have to surf through my phonebook etc.” Saleha, Pakistan

“Because I have a lot of good memories in my life” Abdelmoula, Morocco

“My job requires a good memory. It is never good to always see documents instead of utilizing your memories” Rizwan, UAE

On the other hand some participants were less enthusiastic about the idea of having a perfect memory:

“There is no need to remember silly things” Fatima, JO

“Some bad memory should be forgotten” Anon

“Some memories are good to remember, others are not” Alex, UAE

“It's good if we don't remember the bad things in our life” Anon

A new drug has been created which may be able to erase certain events from someone’s memory. Only a minority believed that this drug should be made accessible to all adults. Over a quarter believe that the drug should never be used and over half stated that it should only be used in extreme cases such as rape or war memories.

“It is a great discovery but it can be used only in special cases like rapes or fears” Farouk, Tunisia

“Wonderful! I would like to erase my failing date in the secondary school” Fatima, JO

“Every memory makes us who we are, we develop, change ourselves from what we experienced so we shouldn't completely forget” Anon

“We should stick with Natural food & avoid drugs as much as we can to avoid future problems & be normal beings it is part of our natural process to remember & forget things” Anon

“My opinion is that it is okay especially if you have a bad memory of an experience in the past” Gina, UAE

“It should be by prescription for people who really need to erase memory for a better future” Wazir, UAE

“It should only be tested, and administered to those with very troubling memories” Saleha, Pakistan

“I guess it's good to help people who have bad memories that cause them to have many problems” Alex, UAE

“I will not use it or my family, unless it's the only hope we got” Ali, UAE

“It is a very good creation if used wisely. It must be made sure that evil hands do not reach it” Anon

“It is good only on physician's advice in extreme cases to help the patients, I think it is a good idea but should be used in control circumstances only, it should not be available as OTC or even with prescription; only under control observation of doctor. Misuse could lead to drastic circumstances as well for any user” Zahra, Bahrain

“I think it should be allowed on the recommendation of Psychologists. Some people who have had suffered from bad incidents may get benefit from this medicine” Rizwan, UAE

“In traumatic cases, it’s better to erase some of their memories with it (the drug) AFTER the case is closed. This should be with the consent of the person who will take the drug” Filipina Al Shamsi, UAQ

“I think good and bad memories help us in building our personality and our self-esteem but in some cases like war and torture it may be easier for them to forget it all to start a new life” Anon

Reasons given for believing that the drug should never be used include:

“Because the effect will not remain forever and I think it's not ethically used” Anon

“It could harm the person in a different way” Anon

“It could harm many people in the society” Priya, UAE

“It’s too dangerous. It will end up with people forgetting who they are” Anon

“Drugs are artificial and can have serious issues if not taken properly. There is a high chance of misuse. And why should anyone remove a memory in first place be it bad or whatever, they should accept it and live by it” Anon

Most participants stated that it was only acceptable to use such a drug in certain “extreme” cases, including:

“In cases of rapes, accidents or bad events in life” Farouk , Tunisia

“War trauma” Fatima, JO

“With bad memories such as losing someone we love” Anon

“In worst scenario like rape victims or war memories” Naresh, UAE

“In cases of depression” Saleha, Pakistan

“Rape, accident and traumatic past victims” Anon

“Only people who have problems because of some memories” Alex, UAE

“People who went through extreme mental torture” Anon

“Traumatic cases like RAPE, MURDER, WAR, WITNESSING LOVEONE'S SUICIDE or CRIME... but should be with the person's consent and after the cases where closed” Filipina Al Shamsi - UAE

Most Lab participants strongly agreed that it is wrong to play with people’s memories. Despite this, most claim to have events that they wish they could erase from their memory.

Most participants agreed that as they get older their memory is getting worse. Over half believe that they are bad at remembering people’s names and bad at remembering dates such as birthdays and key events.

It is often said that over time memories are altered in our minds and it has been claimed that many of the memories we have may be inventions of our imagination. Interestingly, over two-fifths of Lab participants stated that they sometimes they cannot tell if a memory is real or not.

We asked Lab participants to recall the earliest memory they have from their childhood. Some early memories included:

“The first day in my nursery” Anon

“The birth of my little sister” Fatima, JO

“When mom left me with my aunt when she was going to work” Anon

“I used to overcome the door barrier by placing the boxes” Priya, UAE

“When I am 3 years old and I am sitting near to my father in hospital bed” Shyjith, India

“Going to the park with my mum” Anon

“My first memory when I was when I was playing with some other kids at the age of 3 years old” Gina, UAE

“Crying to go out with my parents” Saleha, Pakistan

“The first gift I got for my 1st birthday” Alex, UAE

“Falling off from the roof while catching the kite” Mustansir, UAE

“I can only remember that I loved to ride my bike” Ken, Bahrain

“Joining lower kinder garden” Anon

“When I was four years old holding my brother” Zahra, Bahrain

“When I had an accident and I fell from the stairs” Anon

“I was with my grandfather in the stable” Padam ,UAE

“My mother brought me a cute doll so that I would get well from fever” Anon

“When I was 2/3 years old and holding my new born baby sister....helping my mom with taking care of her...she is 2.5 years younger to me” Anon

“When I was 5 years old, I loved to watch Tom and Jerry. This the first memory in my childhood” Abdelmoula, Morocco

We also asked Lab participants to recall their best memory to date. Some participants specified that they did not have a favourite memory. Some of participant’s best memories included:

“Learning how to pray from my mom” Anon

“When my son was born” Anon

“When my father was discharged from hospital and came back home (3years old)” Shyjith, India

“My first date with my husband” Anon

“My first kiss” Anon

“My best memory is when I was very happy whilst playing when I was a kid because kids don’t have any problems” Gina, UAE

“Winning science fair at school” Saleha, Pakistan

“When our baby came into our world” Anon

“The happiness my parents had when my high school results were out” Anon

“My marriage is my best memory” Rizwan, UAE

“My first love” Anon

“Playing with my best friend in the garden” Anon

“My 17th birthday, one of the happiest memories in my life” Abdelmoula, Morocco

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